Featured image courtesy of Las Moradas de San Martín
- Grape varieties: Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malvar, Albillo Real;
- Hectares planted: 8,500 Ha;
- Grape growers: 3,038;
- Wineries: 51
About Vinos de Madrid
Vinos de Madrid is one of Spain’s newer DOs. Established in 1990, for a long time it was divided into the three distinct sub-zones Arganda, Navalcarnero and San Martin de Valdeiglesias which together form an east to west arc about 50km south of the city of Madrid. Recently in 2019 a fourth sub-zone was added in El Molar, about 40km north of the city of Madrid.
Arganda, in the south-east of the region of Madrid, is the largest of the three sub-zones with 28 wineries and just over 50% of the DO’s total vineyard area. This is an historic winegrowing region; so much so it coined the Spanish saying: ¨Si vino a Arganda y no bebió vino, ¿entonces a qué vino?¨ or ¨If you came to Arganda and didn’t drink wine, why did you come?¨! In terms of grape varieties, you’re most likely to find old vine Tempranillo and the white Malvar grape planted here.
Navalcarnero, 60km due east of Arganda, is the smallest of the three sub-zones and accounts for just 15% of annual production. Just a short drive from here and we’re into DO Méntrida, so it’s no surprise that you start to find more vineyard plots planted with Garnacha.
Finally San Martín de Valdeiglesias is the most westerly of the three sub-zones and gateway to the eastern edge of the Sierra de Gredos, one of the largest mountain ranges in Spain’s Central System with peaks that reach over 2,500 metres above sea level at the highest point and some vineyard plots at around 1,000 metres. San Martín is Garnacha country, but you’ll also find vineyards planted with the white Albillo Real grape.
Terrain in the Vinos de Madrid
The landscape varies from zone to zone from slightly flatter areas in the Jarama river valley in Arganda, to the higher, steeper plots on the eastern edge of the Gredos range around San Martín de Valdeiglesias. Soil type changes to from more loamy textured soil with quite a lot of clay on the eastern side around Arganda, to more granite-based soils on the higher plots around San Martín.
Climate in Vinos de Madrid
In general the climate across the DO is continental, with minimum temperatures around -8ºC and maximums slightly above 40ºC. Summers tend to be short, hot and dry while winters are long and cold, and rainfall winters and low rainfall (c. 500mm/year). This varies slightly as the land rises around San Martín de Valdeiglesias, bringing a more mountainous climate with temperatures dropping a bit more in late some around harvest time and more frost and snowfall during the winter months.
Grapes used in Vinos de Madrid
In terms of vineyard area, Garnacha and Tempranillo lead the pack in DO Vinos de Madrid, although you’ll find quite a big difference in wine style depending on which sub-zone the wine is from, with lighter, more ethereal Garnachas from old vines grown at altitude around San Martín. Historically, the white grape Malvar has been associated with the region of Madrid since the nineteenth century, and although plantings today are quite small, these aromatic white wines with notes of apple and pear are worth looking out for.
Despite its best efforts, Vinos de Madrid is still relatively unknown even for wine drinkers in Madrid. Which is a real shame because the DO has got a lot to shout about, whether it be its centuries old winemaking tradition, the variety of its landscapes and vineyards or its wonderful, very distinctive wines. From the young wines around Arganda, or the black fruit and violet aromas of the wines of Navalcarnero, to old vine Garnacha around San Martín de Valdeiglesias, grown at altitude in granite soils and bursting with minerality and natural acidity, this is a region with a lot to offer the wine lover!